I’m seeing an exciting development with Hilton Honors that I haven’t seen reported in the blogosphere (but I also haven’t read every blog).
The value of Hilton points has hovered around 0.4 cents per point (CPP) for a while. There were still some rare good values if you looked hard, but 0.4 CPP was the norm. However, now I somewhat consistently see a redemption value of 0.57 CPP on average. That’s a significant improvement.
Let’s get right into some examples. In the table below, I’ve compiled 9 Hilton properties. Some I’ve stayed in before, others I’m looking at possibly staying in the future. I’ve looked at additional properties not shown to arrive at the estimated 0.57 CPP average.
For example, I stayed at DoubleTree Whittier a couple of years ago for a short visit to LA. I paid 30,000 points per night when the ADR was $127, giving me a redemption value of 0.42 CPP. If we were to calculate the CPP after taxes and fees, it goes up to ~0.47 CPP. If you include other benefits such as breakfast, CPP goes up again, but I don’t place much weight on breakfast of this caliber. Right now, for the same period this year, the ADR has dropped to $96, and the # of points 17,000, giving you a return of 0.56 CPP. Much better.
Anyway, here’s the table. ADR refers to the cheapest refundable Average Daily Rate on hilton.com, before taxes and
There are 3 interesting trends from the examples above.
- The cash rate (ADR) has gone down in many cases (not surprising, given the economy), causing the points rate to go down as well (since Hilton’s points rate is somewhat tied to the cash rate).
- Independent of the ADR, the redemption CPP has improved in most cases. The only case I see where CPP has gotten worse is at the Kauai property in December 2020, when the ADR is just ridiculously low.
- The more expensive properties tend to offer better CPP. For example, the two 4-star properties (Hilton Sedona and La Quinta), where the cash rate is generally $300+, offer the highest CPP in the table.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that prices do fluctuate with cash rate in many cases. For example, the Hampton Inn Springdale is 22k in March, but 40k in peak season for the same room.
This is a major improvement for Hilton points value, from ~0.4 CPP to ~0.57 CPP as the norm. I don’t know if this is a temporary or “permanent” improvement; let’s hope the latter.
For a while now, it’s been tough find a hotel in a halfway desirable location for much more than 0.4 CPP. Sure, if you wanted to go to La Junta, Colorado, you would find one of the last 10,000 points hotels left in the US. But if you wanted to be anywhere a normal person might visit, the value plummeted – unless you were there during a major event like NYE and Super Bowl. Going forward, it’ll be nice to not have to be in La Junta or the Super Bowl to get a decent value!
22,000 Hilton points for a highly rated 3-star hotel right by the majestic cliffs of Zion National Park during shoulder season? The comparable Marriott hotels cost 40,000 Marriott points per night for the same dates, and IHG used to cost 40,000 points as well regardless of the date (but no longer – more on that below).
Or a 4-star hotel in magical Sedona, where hotel prices are astronomical, for under 50,000 points, with this view?
Or a nice suburb of LA (Arcadia) for 16,500 points?
Value Compared to IHG
The other chain that recently improved redemption rate is IHG. The newly minted value has made it my hotel program of choice this year. How does Hilton’s improvement compare? Well, I’ve searched IHG extensively, and at least for the locations I’m interested in, I am getting 0.75 CPP, based on the ADR, as the norm. So, IHG points are still worth quite a bit more.
That said, sometimes Hilton is a better deal. For example, the Holiday Inn Express Springdale is going for $158 in March, or 21,875 points for the same dates. That gives us 0.72 CPP. However, I’ll fork out 22k Hilton points (the rate of Hampton Inn Springdale for the same dates) over 22k IHG points any day when the hotels are comparable, and they seem to be in this case.
This changes how I use Hilton points
For a long time, my favorite uses of Hilton points have been for low-category hotels at 5k or 10k per night, and at the highest category of 95k, where ADR can be $700 or $1,000, and always in high season. That often gives me a CPP of 0.7 or higher, while the middle-of-road Hilton gives me 0.4. Of course, Hilton over the last few years has just about wiped out the low categories. With the improved rate across the board now, I feel better about redeeming points for “normal” properties that I avoided with Hilton in the past. Hyatt was always much more fair with those mid tier redemption rates, but now the gap is smaller. Furthermore, because the points required is tied to the cash price, now you can get also good deals in shoulder season and low season (see table in this post, and I’ve seen other examples). These opens up a whole world of sensible options with Hilton.
In a Nutshell
I’m very excited by the improved redemption value. I should note that I can only speak for US rates. While I’ve looked at some properties in Asia, the reality is the countries are not really open right now, so future prices are kind of meaningless. For now, I’ll definitely take advantage of the improved value in the US and put my Hilton points to good use for some speculative booking at least.
Are you seeing the improved redemption value?
p.s. no offense to La Junta.